News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 22nd December 2006

It's Official! As previously forecast here, Billie Piper, Kris Marshall and Laurence Fox star in Christopher Hampton's Treats, directed by Laurence Boswell, which will open at the Garrick Theatre on 28th February. Set in the 1970s, it is the darkly comic story of an egotistical ex-boyfriend and an office bore, vying for the affections of a female journalist on a struggling newspaper. The producer is Bill Kenwright.

Jason Isaacs and Lee Evans will star in Harold Pinter's early one act play The Dumb Waiter, directed by Harry Burton, previewing at the Trafalgar Studios 1 from 2nd February. Two supposed hit men wait in a basement for their instructions to be delivered via a dumb waiter from the kitchen above. The producer is Sonia Friedman

The Jermyn Street Theatre is to present The American Songbook In London, a season of American cabaret performers each featuring the songs of one writer. The season will comprise: Andrea Marcovicci Sings Frank Loesser, accompanied by Shelly Markham, from 6th to 11th February, Steve Ross Sings Stephen Sondheim 13th to 18th February, Maude Maggart Sings Irving Berlin, accompanied by Lanny Meyers, 20th to 25th February, and Jeff Harnar Sings Cole Porter, accompanied by Alex Rybeck, 27th February to 4th March.

The Art Of The Theatre Workshop, the latest exhibition at the National Theatre, running until 27th January, tells the story of how Theatre Workshop's political and artistic principles broke with the theatrical traditions of the day. From the Agitprop beginnings in 1953, when a small company of actors led by Joan Littlewood arrived for a six week season at the vacant Theatre Royal Straford in East London, through groundbreaking productions such as The Quare Fellow, A Taste Of Honey, The Hostage and Fings Ain't Wot They Used T'Be, to the international success of Oh! What A Lovely War, ten years later, Theatre Workshop instituted a mode of working whose influence is still felt today. This exhibition examines Theatre Workshop's strong dedication to design and production values, influenced by European theatre figures such as Meyerhold and Piscator, with photographs and designs from the Theatre Royal Stratford East archive.

As part of a UK wide tour, the National Theatre of Scotland production of The Wonderful World Of Dissocia, written and directed by Anthony Neilson, with James Cunningham, Christine Entwistle, Alan Francis, Amanda Hadingue, Jack James, Clair Little, Matthew Pidgeon and Barnaby Power, will open at the Royal Court Theatre on 28th March. On a journey in search of one lost hour that tipped the balance of her life, a woman meets the funny, friendly and brutal inhabitants of a world she finds herself in: Dissocia. It is a co-production with the Drum Theatre in Plymouth and the Tron Theatre in Glasgow.

Other National Theatre of Scotland productions touring this spring include: AALST conceived, directed and designed by Pol Heyvaert, in a new version by Duncan McLean, in which a young couple check into a hotel room with two small children, and a week later police make a chilling discovery, opening at the Tramway in Glasgow on 21st March; the return of Tutti Frutti, adapted for the stage by John Byrne, from his television comedy series about a Scottish rock group, directed Tony Cownie, opening at the King's Theatre in Glasgow on 12th April; and Suspect Culture's Futurology - A Global Revue, exploring the world of the high powered political summit and the international business conference, with the audience experiencing the show as delegates, opening at the SECC in Glasgow on 10th April.

Forthcoming productions at the New End Theatre in Hampstead include: Prunella Scales, Richard Leaf, Felicity Duncan, Christopher Knott and Jerusha West performing Gertrude's Secret, a series of monologues with a sting in their tail by Benedick West, directed by Andrew Loudon, opening on 9th January, produced by the New End Theatre and Pure Bedlam Productions; and Kate Wyvill's Going Potty, with Kate Wyvill and Simon Greenway, a comedy that probes the raw nerves of a marriage that is struggling under the conflicting demands of career and family, directed by Denise Gilfoyle, opening on 7th March, produced by Sanity Productions.

New York TheatreNet: The Pod Project is an interactive theatrical experience that will be staged at 20 Greene Gallery in Manhattan from 31st January to 11th February. Inspired by elevator rides, it comprises 13 scenes that take place inside a cylindrical pod. Each audience member enters a pod by him/herself, takes part in a private one on one performance, and is then guided to the next pod. No two participants will have the same experience. The performers will be Debra Winger, Bob Moss, Marc Kenison, Stephanie Liapis, Risa Steinberg, Arnie Apostol, Keith Johnson, Megan Brunsvold, Tricia Nelson, Jennifer Gillespie, Rick Meese, Jose Souto, Netta Yerushalmy, Ryan Corriston and Lily Fischer. The work is created, directed and produced by Nancy Bannon.

There is a rare opportunity to see Georg Buchner's fairy tale absurdist satire Leonce And Lena, with Theo Cross, Kate Donmall, Will Beer, Susanna Fiore and Richard Crawley, directed by Lydia Ziemke, at the Tabard Theatre in Turnham Green, from 19th January to 11th February. The producer is Skinnydipping Productions.

The spring season at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds includes in the Quarry Theatre: Macbeth, directed by Ian Brown, opening on 28th February; The Sunshine Boys, Neil Simon's comedy about two vaudevillians - partners onstage but at loggerheads off, directed by Maggie Norris, opening on 26th April; and Amanda Whittington's Bollywood Jane, the story of disenchanted teenager whose life is transformed by the romance and spectacle of Bollywood cinema, directed by Nikolai Foster, with choreography by Zoobin Surty, opening on 6th June. In the Courtyard Theatre: Ramayana, an epic Indian tale of love, honour and revenge, adapted and directed by David Farr, opening on 19th March, a co-production with the Lyric Hammersmith; and the fifth annual Northern Exposure writing programme from 23rd May, with Magpie Park, Oliver Emanual's romantic drama set in a Leeds Hotel, David Hermanstein's urban drama Safe, directed by Karena Johnson, and Jodie Marshall's Tender Dearly, a story about a young alcoholic bar tender, directed by Alex Chisholm.

The new year season at the Finborough Theatre in Earls Court will include: the British premiere of Joshua Sobol's IWitness, based on the true story of an Austrian farmer who was beheaded for refusing to wear a Nazi uniform and serve in the army of the Third Reich, with Richard Atwill, John Bryan, Leah Muller, Lucinda Millward, Lucja Nowicka, James Henry Parker, Natalie Radmall-Quirke, Mel Raido and Natalia Tatarka, directed by Michael Ronen, opening on 4th January; Jack Thorne's Fanny And Faggot, an examination of the motivations and punishment of child murderers, with Elicia Daly, directed by Stephen Keyworth, opening on 1st February; and Joanna Murray-Smith's Love Child, which explores the reconciliation between a mother and the daughter she gave up at birth, with Kristin Milward, directed by Nicolette Kay, opening on 23rd February.